During the general audience this morning in St. Peter’s Square — attended by crowds even more numerous than usual due to this weekend’s canonizations of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII — Francis asked those present: “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”
Referring to today’s Gospel in which angels admonished Jesus’ followers by posing this precise question, the Holy Father repeated this inquiry several times to the faithful, who crowded under open umbrellas in the light rain.
Francis noted examples of those “looking among the dead for the one who is alive:” the Apostle Thomas who doubted him, Mary Magdalene who did not recognize him, and the disciples of Emmaus who felt sad and defeated.
Stressing that Jesus corrected their path, the Pontiff noted, likewise, He “will always be close to us to correct our course if we have gone wrong.”
“This question helps us resist the temptation to look back, to what was yesterday, and pushes us forward into the future.”
Yesterday, Pope Francis said, is the “tomb of Jesus and the Church, the tomb of truth and justice.” Today, he added, is the “perennial resurrection to which the Holy Spirit impels us, gifting us full freedom.”
Speaking of Christ’s resurrection, the source of Easter joy, he noted, “With the resurrection, all has been made new and fresh hope has been poured out on the world.”
Acknowledging the question’s relevance in the lives of the faithful, especially one “who close[s] in on yourself after a failure or you who no longer have the strength to pray,” or when we “feel alone, abandoned by friends, and perhaps even by God? …[when you] have lost hope or you who feel imprisoned by your sins? Why are you looking among the dead for one who is alive?”
Remembering this admonition “helps us emerge from our spaces of sadness and opens up for us horizons of joy and hope,” he said. “That hope that removes stones from graves and encourages us to proclaim the Good News, capable of generating new life for others.”
Turning to discussing where Jesus is, “Let’s not look among those many tombs that promise everything and give nothing. Let’s look for Him, Jesus isn’t in the tomb. He is risen! He is alive and gifts life!”
Encouraging the crowd, Francis said: “Let us repeat this phrase of the Angel to have it in our heart and in our memory and then each one should answer in silence. ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead?’ Let’s repeat it! [he repeats it with the crowd]. Look brothers and sisters, He is alive, he is with us!” Therefore, he closed “Let us not seek the living among the dead.” (D.C.L.)
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